Mule Grant Projected to Positively Impact Yield

University is Seeing an Increase in Retention Due to Grant


Graphic by Abram Tabor

Written by Rachel Becker, Editor-in-Chief

  After announcing the Mule Grant for fall 2023, the University of Central Missouri is already seeing an increase in students committing to the university and enrolling in summer orientations. 

  The Mule Grant, a need-based grant for first-time undergraduate degree-seeking students, covers any tuition and general fees remaining after federal, state, institutional, and private or outside grants and scholarships have been applied.  

  The Director of Financial Assistance, Tony Lubbers said, the university expects to see higher enrollment due to the introduction of the Mule Grant. 

  “[Grants are] need-based for lower-income students, scholarships can be applied to any charge, the Mule Grant is based on student need,” Lubbers said. “Mule Grant money comes from the institution but it’s coming in the form of a discount. So the grant can be as big as it needs to be. “

  Britni Hume, assistant director for New Student Programs, said “We are seeing retention increase in the students who are receiving the Mule Grant. They are actually signing up for orientation, actually submitting a housing deposit, and doing those things at a greater rate than students who are not receiving them.”  

  “We have given out about 100 to 115 of these scholarships for the fall and we have had about 50% of them so far register for orientation,” Chris Lang, Assistant Vice Provost for Admissions and Analytics, said. 

  Lang said other accepted Pell Grant recipients are enrolling in a mid 30% range so far for the upcoming semester. 

  It has a positive impact on our yield rate on that population of students, Lang said. He said that the overall goal is to help retain those students as well. 

  One of the biggest reasons students end their college career early or take a gap year is because of the financial aspects of college, Lang said. Lang said financial aid, like the Mule Grant, helps remove that financial barrier for students, and can help them graduate on time.

  “More students have filed the FAFSA for us than in the past,” Lang said. “Which means we can get more financial aid in the hands of students, and typically more financial aid helps with yield.” 

  Hume said admissions focuses on attracting students who are already eligible for grants or scholarships. 

  There are other financial aid opportunities available for students besides the Mule Grant. For incoming freshmen, there is the Red and Black scholarship, the UCM Bound Out-of-State Scholarship and the UCM Dual Credit Scholarship. 

  “When we reach out to those students it isn’t ‘Are you interested in UCM?’ it is ‘You should be interested in UCM and here’s why,” Hume said. “We know one of the biggest motivators is money, it is one the largest motivators as to if people put off school or go to school based on their scholarship eligibility.”

  Part of the job of outreach is to let students know that there is financial aid available to them, Hume said.  

  Student Financial Services in the Ward Edwards building assist both current and incoming students with finding financial aid that works for them, whether it be scholarships, grants, loans or work study.   

  “We know you are going to have a next step and UCM should be that next step because we have scholarships, resources and we are transfer-friendly,” Hume said. “From the undergraduate perspective, it is how you set us apart from the Northwests, the KUs, and I think we have the best value for the education, plus the experiences that students are looking for. Our campus, and our culture here, make it really easy to appeal to prospective students.”